Lives in Granbury, Texas.

mark.finkelstein@gmail.com 

Twitter: @markfinkelstein

Parrots, dogs, small planes, tennis.

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
July 15, 2015, 9:16 AM EDT

Zbigniew Brzezinki is the man who infamously advised President Obama to shoot down Israeli warplanes should they attempt to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities. So when David Ignatius asked him on today's Morning Joe what he thought of Bibi Netanyahu's condemnation of the Iran deal, Zbigniew knew he was being teed up to unload on the Israeli PM.

By Zbigniew's vituperative standards, his response was in fact relatively measured.  Still, the utter disdain with which he regards Netanyahu was evident, calling him "not a very serious person" who can entertain Congress but is not good for Israel.

July 13, 2015, 7:43 AM EDT

Liberal media types like Al Hunt haven't called Donald Trump a Hitler. Yet.  But Judy Woodruff's husband has branded Trump a modern-day version of an iconic personification of racism.

On today's Morning Joe, Hunt declared that Trump is "George Corley Wallace, 40 years later."

July 10, 2015, 7:58 AM EDT

What does it say about Mike Barnicle that, in a discussion of the surge in inner-city homicide, Al Sharpton sounded a lot more reasonable than the former Boston Globe columnist?

On today's Morning Joe, Sharpton almost echoed the NRA's famous "guns don't kill people, people kill people."  Said Sharpton: "people, because guns are there don't make you get up and shoot."  But there was the blathering Barnicle--who during the Ferguson debate had bemoaned the militarization of police--seeming to condemn the absence of the National Guard in the inner cities.

July 9, 2015, 8:45 AM EDT

What does MSNBC's Alex Wagner have against stately Indian warriors? On today's Morning Joe, Wagner said it was "amazing" that anyone could look at the Washington Redskins logo and name and not find them controversial.

This NewsBuster can understand the debate over the "Redskins" name. But the logo? Has Alex actually had a look at it?  Could Wagner be confusing it with the Cleveland Indians'  Chief Yahoo?  Seriously, what could be more stately, grave and dignified than the Redskins logo?  

July 7, 2015, 8:47 AM EDT

From the man who brought you malaise, now an even more depressingly negative view of America . . . On today's Morning Joe, Jimmy Carter declared that America is in "inevitable decline."  

But no finger-pointing at President Obama, please: Carter declared that the decline is "not because of any defect or fault on the part of the President of the United States."   Cue the Cole Porter: it's just one of those things.

July 6, 2015, 7:51 AM EDT

Remind me: before her View gig, did Nicolle Wallace work for Republicans or Democrats? I ask because on today's Morning Joe, she was the sole voice downplaying the significance of Hillary's minions having roped off the press during her July 4th parade walk.

According to Wallace,"we pay a little bit too much attention to [press] access to Hillary Clinton . . . just as an image, I don't that it was a bad press day for Hillary because of the rope corral."

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June 25, 2015, 8:08 AM EDT

Working title for John Kerry's memoirs: The Art of the Disastrous Deal . . . On today's Morning Joe, former CIA Director Michael Hayden said he was "stunned" to hear Kerry recently say that the Iranians' work toward weaponizing a nuclear device is not as important as some are suggesting and that they don't have to come clean before an agreement. 

Hayden later said that the US must walk away from the deal unless Iran agrees to "anytime, anywhere" inspections, something that for now the ayatollah's agents are refusing.  The alarm Hayden sounded today is in line with the letter that five of President Obama's former senior national security advisers have sent him, warning that the deal falls short of meeting the administration's own standards for what constitutes a good deal.

June 24, 2015, 11:46 AM EDT

Bill Kristol has supported the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina capitol grounds for 15 years. But when he took to Twitter yesterday to criticize the left's "frenzy of self-righteousness" in the wake of Charleston, he brought down on his head a deluge of ugly criticism.

On today's Morning Joe, Jonathan Capehart and John Heilemann eschewed the kind of scatalogical suggestions that had been made to Kristol on Twitter, but engaged in a barrage of criticism of their own.  Capehart accused Kristol of "belittling" the families of the Charleston victims, while Heilemann—telling Kristol he was "trolling"—sarcastically said that the Left doesn't need his help.

June 22, 2015, 9:37 AM EDT

The screencap shows New Yorker editor David Remnick, on today's Morning Joe, raising his hand to proudly plead guilty to condescending to Donald Trump, whom he had just called a "comical blowhard" in regretting that he was "conceivably a player" in the presidential race.

Mika Brzezinski is no fan of The Donald on the issues, so give her extra credit for sticking up for his relevance to the race.  Schooling Remnick, she said that Trump has the guts, which many lack, to "liquefy" the likes of George Stephanopoulos and others with one line. Mika was alluding to Joe Scarborough's statement to that effect from last week.

June 21, 2015, 10:50 AM EDT

The Cardinal couldn't have been more polite, but it didn't take much reading between the lines to get what he was asserting: that when it comes to the encyclical on the environment, Rush Limbaugh doesn't understand what the Pope was saying.

On today's Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace played a clip of Rush saying that the encyclical "is suggesting is that everyone should vote for the Democrat party. How in the hell else do you interpret it when the Pope sounds like Al Gore on global warming and climate change?" Responded Cardinal Donald Wuerl: "one of the great blessings of America" is that "we're all allowed to speak our mind even if we don't have all the facts. Even if we don't have a clear view of what the other person is saying."  

June 19, 2015, 10:05 AM EDT

Yes, what could be better for an already-troubled network than to be saddled with a disgraced hand-me-down from the mother ship?

On today's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski gushed "I think that it's great for the network" that Brian Williams will be joining MSNBC as its anchor of breaking news. As dutiful employees, it's understandable that MSNBC people would greet Williams impending arrival respectfully, as did Joe Scarborough in saying--without excitement--that he was "very excited."  But Mika went beyond the call of duty with her "great for this network" line.

June 18, 2015, 10:16 AM EDT

"People who think he's a joke and a fool need to be careful because by the end of the campaign, the joke may be on them." That's how Joe Scarborough summed up the surprisingly respectful analysis of Donald Trump's candidacy on today's Morning Joe

Introducing the segment, Scarborough suggested that if Trump sticks to a Perot-like populist message, he could get 15% of the primary vote. When Joe turned to Steve Schmidt, this NewsBuster expected the former McCain campaign manager and establishment Republican to dump on Trump. But to the contrary, Schmidt agreed heartily with Joe and went on to make the case that Trump is channeling widespread popular resentment, is the man people would want to hear in a debate, and could be "very impactful" in the race.  John Heilemann was similarly respectful of Trump's potential, saying he "doesn't play by the rules and is fearless," and receives serious, generally favorable local coverage in places like Iowa and New Hampshire.

June 17, 2015, 7:58 AM EDT

Nothing says raw, real and unfiltered like a Hillary moment manufactured by a horde of hacks, handlers and hangers-on. 

On today's Morning Joe, Kasie Hunt observed that in this election cycle, "the demand seems to be for raw, unfiltered, real type of moments. I think that they're trying very hard to create that with her." Jon Meacham—seizing the oxymoronic irony—jumped in: "they're manufacturing it." Bingo. 

June 16, 2015, 8:51 PM EDT

How can Judd Apatow, once ranked the smartest guy in Hollywood be so . . . ? On today's With All Due Respect, big comedy macher [credits include Lena Dunham's GirlsApatow said it was "ridiculous that anyone thinks that rich people care about other people.  When the Koch brothers give a billion dollars, it is not out of a great concern for the masses."

To his credit, Mark Halperin twice pressed Apatow as to whether his notion that the rich don't care about others also applies to rich Hollywood liberals.  Apatow eventually asserted that there's a difference: "Hollywood liberals would be willing to change the entire system if all would get the money out of it, and I don't think conservatives would do it."  Hmm.  Who was the guy who, realizing he could get untold millions from Hollywood among other places, broke his pledge to limit himself to public financing?  That would be Barack Obama.  

June 16, 2015, 9:08 AM EDT

Think of Hillary Clinton.  I know, I know, but work with me. Now think of the first 100 things that come to mind.  Is "change" one of them?  It is for Howard Dean, and Bill Kristol found that hilarious. On today's Morning Joe, explaining his early endorsement of Hillary, Dean claimed that "Hillary Clinton is change." That was enough to provoke hearty laughter in the normally-composed Kristol.  

Manifestly in a jocular mood, Kristol later turned the PC tables on Mika Brzezinski. When she claimed that young people are very enthusiastic about Hillary, Kristol told Mika that she needed to hang out with a more "diverse" group of them.

June 15, 2015, 9:39 AM EDT

First, polls show Americans don't think Hillary is trustworthy.  Then her campaign manager denies that such polls exist. Then her pollster denies that the campaign manager didn't tell the truth about it. Not exactly a formula to build trust. 

On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough mocked Robby Mook for having, as our Jeff Meyer reported, denied the undeniable, claiming on yesterday's Face the Nation that "no poll" shows Americans don't trust Hillary.   Said Scarborough sarcastically: "well, actually, yeah, they do. You have to respect him for saying they don't." When Scarborough confronted Hillary pollster Joel Benenson with the fact that Mook "didn't tell the truth," Benenson replied: "He did tell the truth.  He got interrupted by John [Dickerson], who is a great guy.  That's the way these shows go."  Have a look at the clip: Dickerson didn't interrupt Mook, who had all the time to tell the truth and chose not to.

June 13, 2015, 2:21 PM EDT

Love the smell of flop sweat in the morning? That might have been the aroma wafting off Roosevelt Island today as Hillary "kicked off" her campaign [whatever happened to "you only get one chance to make a first impression?" Guess Hillary doesn't use Head & Shoulders.]

On MSNBC's Weekends with Alex Witt today, two reporters painted a picture of a crowd that was smaller than hoped for, not overly enthusiastic, and problematically pale.

June 9, 2015, 7:37 AM EDT

Talk about killing the messenger . . . Mike Barnicle has blamed the New York Post for the fact that New York City has become less safe under far-left Mayor Bill de Blasio.

On today's Morning Joe, Barnicle--holding up the front page of today's Post--whined that part of the problem is "the way crime is now covered in this city--especially in this paper, okay? If someone is shot in Times Square, or a guy with a hatchet in midtown is attacking people, it's on the front page." Boo-hoo. The fault, dear Barnicle, is not in the Post, but in de Blasio, and the way his reduction of stop-and-frisk and lax attitude have emboldened criminals and led to a jump in the crime rate.

June 8, 2015, 9:18 PM EDT

Apples and oranges: or shall we say, Harleys and Abrams.

On this evening's Ed Show on MSNBC, guest John Nichols of the far-left Nation mag and guest host Michael Eric Dyson lamely tried to analogize Scott Walker riding a Harley to the infamous episode of Michael Dukakis in a tank. The difference?  Walker is a for-real biker and Harley owner.  Dukakis did serve two years in the Army, but there's no evidence he did tanks before his ill-fated ride during the 1988 campaign.  Check the photos at the foot to see the difference.  You'll note that the hopelessly buttoned-down Dukakis is actually, yes, wearing a button-down shirt and tie.

June 4, 2015, 8:32 AM EDT

Will Joe Scarborough be hearing from some MSNBC suits? You can imagine Joe being called on the carpet for having, on today's Morning Joe, not-so-subtly accused his own network of "fearmongering" the issue of minority voter suppression against Republicans.

During a discussion of Hillary's planned speech of today on expanding the voting calendar, Scarborough spoke of "cable news" and "cable shows" driving ratings by "fearmongering" the notion of Republicans supposedly engaged in voter suppression.  So which cable news network could Scarborough have in mind?  Fox News? Nope.  CNN? Meh.  Googling "MSNBC voter suppression" yielded 136,000 hits, including links to virtually every MSNBC host, from Matthews to Maddow, Roberts to of course Sharpton, beating the voter suppression drum.